Dorry Kordahi's new book 'Win Big Risk Small' reveals his meteoric rise in the ragtrade. In this exclusive series, he reveals some of his winning strategies.
Sport, particularly basketball, has always been one of my passions and something I was constantly praised for at school too.
Given my poor academic results, this was a great morale booster for me, because I witnessed firsthand what I and a well-trained team could do. It gave me a real sense of achievement and a taste for success.
Which makes this question the perfect analogy for me.
I never went to university and wasn’t born with a silver spoon in my mouth, I decided to think of myself as a rookie trying to break into the major league when I started my own business. However, I knew what I would need to build to gain momentum and success, a winning team.
This attention to team building worked because my company has been a market leader now for more than ten years.
Despite the fact that I was young when I started my company, I did have plenty of experience under my belt, in all aspects of my industry. I had seen witnessed the downfalls and mistakes of other companies and decided those were areas I would need to excel and maintain a strong foothold in – it was like figuring out a player’s weak spot.
I also knew I was going to approach my industry in a radically new way and definitely didn’t want people with ingrained, traditional industry practices on my team.
So, I decided to employ young, inexperienced people who were full of enthusiasm and who I could train and mould. There was a bonus cost factor here too, but I still had a lot of work cut out for me, teaching my team the objectives that needed to be achieved and working at the same time.
That meant constant training sessions in new products and techniques, and boosting team morale.
One of the team building exercises I found of great value was multi-tasking. If your staff can move from production to sales for example, then not only do they have a greater appreciation and understanding of their colleagues’ jobs, but in a crisis they can step up and fill a gap. Think of your staff’s multi-tasking skills as your bench players being constantly match ready.
Teams grow and change all the time, just like companies and when this happens, you will find your needs change accordingly. What was once the right formation, may not be now. You may find you need to bring in some more experienced players as opposed to promoting from within.
This could be because, just as my company has, you want to diversify. When I began to diversify via my acquisition programme, I was very careful to bring key people on board from the companies I had taken over. They were the ones who had the specialist skills necessary for a smooth transition and successful future.
Of course, you need to nurture your existing staff as well. After all, today’s rookies are tomorrow’s stars.
Understanding the nuances of your team or company is a vital skill that every good leader needs.
It is ultimately important to remember that your team is fluid, not solid. It will never, nor should it ever be allowed to, remain static.
You will come to understand that elements of it will come, go and change, but you must maintain it as a single, cohesive entity, the sole goal of which is to continue to play seamlessly and win.
If you can achieve all of this, you will position yourself as a true leader and your business as a successful, constantly evolving, and adaptable entity.